- 2014 Community Assessment
- Basic Needs
- Community Based Support Services
- United Way 2-1-1
- Emerging Community Impact Partners (ECIP)
Reading Buddies Program
The Reading Buddies Program is part of United Way’s Academic Achievement Initiative that falls under the Education focus, which is working to help children and youth achieve their academic potential. The purpose of this program is to help ensure that children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade. This program moves our community one step closer to achieving this goal by increasing children’s reading time and enjoyment. The Reading Buddies Program builds on the work teachers are currently doing to meet the Illinois Learning Standards and the Response to Intervention Requirements.
In August 2009, United Way of McLean County launched the pilot of this reading proficiency program throughout McLean County. Second graders at participating elementary schools received a stuffed animal – a Reading Buddy – to read to during guided reading in the classroom and free time. Each Buddy comes with a name tag so the child can name his/her own Buddy. At the end of the school year, the students take their Buddies home with them to encourage further reading at home with their families.
The Reading Buddies Program was started in Hammond, Indiana in 2008 where there has been an overwhelming increase in student reading time both at home and at school. Teachers reported that the students were taking great pride in their Reading Buddies and being fully responsible for getting them out, putting them away and making sure they are well taken care of throughout the year. In addition, the teachers stated that their students were choosing to read with their Buddies during free time and that disciplinary issues had decreased.
To measure the success of this program in McLean County, participating schools provide information at the end of the year regarding the students’ rate of progress in reading improvement, the number of students reading at grade level, and feedback from families and students regarding reading habits both at home and at school.
The following elementary schools are participating in the 2012-2013 Reading Buddies Program:
- Benjamin Elementary School
- Bent Elementary School
- Carlock Elementary School
- Colene Hoose Elementary School
- Fox Creek Elementary School
- Glenn Elementary School
- Heyworth Elementary School
- Hudson Elementary School
- Irving Elementary School
- Lexington Grade School
- Oakland Elementary School
- Olympia West Elementary School
- Parkside Elementary School
- Pepper Ridge Elementary School
- Prairieland Elementary School
- Stevenson Elementary School
- Towanda Elementary School
- Tri-Valley Elementary School
- Washington Elementary School